Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Six questions I get the most whether or not to upgrade to OpsMgr R2

Yes, Microsoft has published much about the benefits of R2 compared to OpsMgr SP1.

And yet, I do get questions whether or not to upgrade. When a company has a SA (Software Assurance) there isn’t really any good reason NOT to upgrade.

I know, it takes time to run an upgrade. As with all other upgrades, preparation is the keyword. Knowing what components are in place in the OpsMgr environment, identifying potential weak spots (like outdated third party MPs), fixing them, running AND checking backups of all critical OpsMgr components takes time.

As far as I am concerned, the preparation is default to ANY upgrade and not OpsMgr specific. So the preparation needed for upgrading to R2 cannot be an argument to postpone it.

Below I have put the six questions I do get the most about whether or no to upgrade to R2.

  1. We started with OpsMgr RTM. Had a lot of issues which were solved after applying SP1 and some hotfixes/QFE’s. So should we wait with R2 until a new SP comes out for this version?

    To be straightforward, yes OpsMgr RTM did have certain issues which were solved with SP1 and some post SP1  hotfixes/QFE’s. R2 is the next generation of OpsMgr. So all the lessons learned with OpsMgr RTM and SP1 were accounted with and have been applied in R2 as well. And not just that, R2 contains a LOT of improvements compared to OpsMgr SP1.

  2. We have heard that a post SP1 Rollup Package will come soon available. Will OpsMgr become the same like R2 after having applied this Rollup Package?

    It is true that there are rumors about this Rollup Package. However, until now I am not sure whether this package will come out. And when it does it will certainly not deliver the same functionality as a R2 will do. Only R2 will have added features where as a Rollup Package will contain the Post SP1 hotfixes/QFE’s and some new hotfixes as well. And when it contains new functionality it will be at a much lower level than R2 does.

  3. We want to monitor non-Microsoft Operating Systems like Linux. Until recently there were beta’s of the Xplat MPs available for OpsMgr SP1. We still use these MPs in an OpsMgr SP1 testenviroment. However, Microsoft states that this functionality is only available in OpsMgr R2. However, when I import the last beta of these MPs into our OpsMgr SP1 production environment I have the same functionality. So why upgrade to R2?

    It is true that the beta’s of the Xplat MPs were available for OpsMgr SP1. However, when R2 hit RTM, the beta’s were withdrawn since the Xplat functionality is integrated within R2. And not just that, the way it is integrated is way much better and safer than in OpsMgr SP1 was the case. For instance, the Administration Pane in OpsMgr SP1 was locked so no additional programming was allowed. This caused the Xplat MPs in OpsMgr SP1 containing all account information in the Monitoring Pane, a potential security issue. Besides all this, you don’t want to run beta’s into a live/production environment. So monitoring non-Microsoft OS is ONLY possible AND supported by Microsoft with R2.

  4. It took us much time (and sometimes frustration) to get the Notifications/subscriptions working properly. The upgrade documentation of Microsoft tells to disable ALL of them during the upgrade. Will they still work after the upgrade and having enabled them again?

    Yes, they will. Even better, in R2 the Notification/Subscription Model has been much improved. So a more granular subscription is possible because the MOM 2005 functionality has made a comeback: one-click subscription to Alerts is possible again. My guess is that with R2 new subscriptions will come in place and the ‘old’ ones, built in OpsMgr RTM/SP1 will be discarded eventually. And not just that, in R2 Operators themselves can subscribe themselves to the Alerts which are important to them.

  5. We are monitoring Exchange 2007 with an older version of the Exchange 2007 MP. Finally Microsoft has released the native version of this MP. Only to find that it works with OpsMgr R2. Is this because Microsoft wants to push everyone to start using R2?

    No, that is not the case. The newly released Exchange 2007 MPs uses certain OpsMgr components which are only present in OpsMgr R2. Besides the question whether or not to upgrade to R2, I always advise my customers to use native MPs as much as possible. Main reason for it is that the native MPs are designed for OpsMgr where as converted MPs come from MOM 2005 which is totally different compared to OpsMgr, so they lack OpsMgr functionality.

  6. Microsoft claims that R2 is faster, has a better performance, is capable of monitoring more objects per Management Server, has integrated SLA monitoring and so on. Sounds like the Marketing department of Microsoft has gone loose. How much of it is true?

    As a matter of fact, all of these claims are true and none them is exaggerated. R2 just delivers more value for it’s money.

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